A Christian Teen’s Guide to Money
Money, money, money... it's a big deal!
Ah, money. We all need it, but’s it a source of great anxiety for so many people. Whether you have too much or too little, money can really make you unhappy!
So how do we deal with this whole money thing as Christians? Let’s find out!
What does the Bible say about money?
To start with, let’s go to the source of all wisdom: God’s word.
Money comes from God
In Deuteronomy 8:18 we read: But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
Our money comes from God and it’s really important we remember that.
Money can be an idol
Like all good things, unfortunately money can turn into a really bad thing. As Paul explains in 1 Timothy 6:10:
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
There are countless warnings in the Bible about loving money too much and turning it into an idol.
God is our only source of true security
In Philippians 4:19, Paul writes a great reminder to the church in Philippi:
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
Many people in biblical times – and now! – relied on money as a source of security and assurance. But the truth is, only God can provide true security.
Let’s Get Practical
So now that we know some of what the Bible says about money, let’s get practical with that knowledge!
As Edward Sowden explains in this article, one of the biggest things we need to do with our money is GIVE!
"In the Old Testament, God’s people were told to give 10% (called a 'tithe') of their possessions to him. However because of Jesus bringing in the new covenant we are now free from the old law, particularly as Gentiles. But there are two directions, laid out by Paul in 2 Corinthians 9, and they are...
1. Be Generous
Maybe you will decide that 10% is a helpful amount for you to give. Maybe you will decide that it’s 20%. We have freedom to decide but we are called to be generous, so the amount we give will be different for different people.
But it would be unhelpful to think “I will just wait until I have a full time job to start giving to church”. Giving your money away doesn’t get easier as you grow older. You have more things to pay for even if you do have more money.
It is a good idea to get into good habits while you are young, as those habits will stay with you later on in life. The habit you want to develop towards money is being generous. Paul says that God gave us our wealth so that we can be generous on every occasion!
2. Be Joyful
The other attitude we are to have is to be joyful in our giving.
“Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.“ (2 Corinthians 9:7).
Once we have decided exactly how much we will give, we need to give it happily and joyfully. Not begrudgingly, not complaining. If we can’t give joyfully, perhaps we need to reconsider how much we are giving or perhaps we are just being greedy or selfish.
These are the things that dictate how we use our money. As far as who we should give our money to, well you can be creative. Often it can be wise to give to your local church first. Then after that, you could give to missionaries or children in poverty. Maybe you will use your money to buy your friends coffee, make them something, or use it on petrol to give your friend a lift to church every week. The opportunities to be generous are endless.
So consider how you will use your money in a generous way. Then give it joyfully.
As Tara Sing explains in this article, being content is crucial to avoid the trap of loving money.
"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that" (1 Timothy 6:6-8).
Being content is being satisfied with what we already have and not chasing after more. Being discontent will lead us to buy the latest product, consume the latest good and spend money on this and on that to make our lives better. God tells us that all we need to be content are food and clothing (any food and any clothing, not necessarily lobsters and Levi’s). If we want more than this, we will often end up spending money on silly things and using it in a way that is unwise.
Questions to think about
- Does money ever make you worried? Why?
- Does knowing that your money belongs to God change how you feel about it?
- Do you give away any money to your church, or to charities? If not, have a think about whether you should start.
- As you get older, what kinds of things do you want to spend your money on? How will giving to God fit in with that?